It’s By no means Too Late to Play the Cello


“It’s By no means Too Late” is a brand new collection that tells the tales of people that determine to pursue their desires on their very own phrases.

In 1940, at age 12, Vera Jiji discovered her first ardour: the cello. She discovered to like taking part in the orchestra instrument on the Excessive Faculty of Music & Artwork in Manhattan. “I didn’t choose the cello. They assigned it to me as a result of I had an excellent ear and lengthy fingers,” mentioned the Bronx native, now 93. “I cherished it. It’s a fantastic instrument that may sound like a human voice. It appeared like a feminine physique, with hips, breasts and a waist. Holding it and taking part in it was a really intimate expertise.”

As an grownup, although, she stopped taking part in the instrument. She turned a professor and a fixture at Brooklyn School educating English lessons. She married twice and had 4 youngsters. Her beloved cello, her mom’s highschool commencement current, sat tucked away at the back of her clothes closet. It remained untouched, virtually forgotten, for about 40 years. She picked up her cello once more solely after retiring at 62.

“I revived the eagerness I all the time felt after I began taking part in once more,” she mentioned. Since then, it has been like a second life.

Immediately Dr. Jiji, who lives along with her 93-year-old husband in an Higher East Aspect townhouse, might be discovered taking part in most Fridays with different amateurs and associates in two musical teams, a trio and a string quartet, on the 92nd Road Y. She’s additionally part of the Y’s annual musical efficiency. In 2007 she self-published her first e book, “Cello Enjoying for Music Lovers,” which is offered on Amazon in additional than 20 nations. (The next interview has been edited and condensed.)

What made you come back to music in any case these years?

Brooklyn School gave me companions and socialization with different lecturers and college students. I felt essential socially. After I retired, I misplaced that. I felt empty and wanted to interchange that loss and neighborhood. I needed to satisfy folks within the neighborhood.

How did you are feeling about retiring?

I assumed my life was over; it wasn’t. I needed to discover a totally different street. I assumed in regards to the street I took after I was youthful, and the one I didn’t take as a result of I used to be a spouse and a mom of 4 and had a profession. I assumed in regards to the street I didn’t journey — one stuffed with music — and realized I ought to take that street now. I couldn’t take each on the similar time. The one I took turned my life. I went again to the fork and took the opposite street to see the place it could take me.

How do you know the place to begin?

I’m a half a block away from the 92nd Road Y. I walked in and requested about lessons; that they had a artistic music class for folks over 60 and advised me to simply present up. I assumed I must take a check, however I didn’t. I used to be on the piano, seated subsequent to an teacher who mentioned, “Let’s see the way you play,” when somebody walked in carrying a cello. I couldn’t consider it. I requested if I may play it and I fell in love with the instrument immediately.

What did that really feel like?

Like coming residence. All of it got here flooding again, and it was great. I felt like I used to be reconnecting with a greatest good friend. I wanted the chance to play music and have these different musicians in my life. This was a return to a prized ardour.

What have you ever gained by returning to this ardour?

Music is an ideal language; it’s like a dialog between individuals who by no means misunderstand one another and by no means get bored. Whenever you play music with folks, it’s a type of friendship. Music is a world of enjoyment. It has given me a strategy to talk with out utilizing phrases. It gave me a subsequent step in life.

What made you write your e book, “Cello Enjoying for Music Lovers”?

I appeared for different books I may flip to, and didn’t discover something useful. So I made a decision to write down one. As an English professor, I knew how to do that. I’m good at articulating concepts, having the ability to put issues down in a method folks can comply with, and I’m disciplined sufficient to sit down down on a regular basis and write. I made it a apply to cease at a particular level the place I knew what I needed to say going ahead. I by no means stopped after I was at a loss. That method I may proceed the following day figuring out I had path and wouldn’t get overwhelmed. And I needed to assist others.

How do you are feeling about this stage in your life?

I’m 93. Individuals view age incorrectly: Getting older doesn’t imply you possibly can’t have one thing, you possibly can. And getting older isn’t getting worse. I’m about having fun with the second. It’s important to stand up every morning and do one thing you like. That’s how you progress ahead.

What’s your greatest recommendation for folks seeking to make a change?

Don’t be afraid to return to one thing you really liked. Individuals say no to issues too shortly. We aren’t all the time our greatest associates. Your ardour or abilities are nonetheless there. You’ll keep in mind greater than you suppose. All of the details about music I assumed I’d misplaced was in part of my mind that wasn’t speaking to me till I tapped again into it.

What have you ever discovered throughout this new act in your life?

Despite the fact that I used to be ageing I discovered I may nonetheless re-enter this excellent world of making music. And the neighborhood I misplaced I discovered once more. Music gave me a brand new group of individuals. It gave me assist. It gave me a brand new residence.

On this second act, what are you most pleased with undertaking?

Writing and publishing “Cello Enjoying for Music Lovers.” I lived, I died; what did I give the world? This e book, which is able to outlast me. After I’m gone, this can nonetheless be right here, serving to folks be taught the cello.

What lesson can folks be taught out of your expertise?

Don’t say no to your self.

We’re searching for individuals who determine that it’s by no means too late to modify gears, change their life and pursue desires. Ought to we speak to you or somebody ? Share your story here.

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